1:1, 2 Moses begins this manual on worship at the tabernacle by recording the laws of sacrifice. The laws are subdivided into sections addressed to the laity (1:1–6:7) and to the priests (6:8–7:38). Sacrifice in Israel involved the offering of selected domestic animals, grain, oil, and wine. All these products symbolized the worshiping Israelite, who, through the act of sacrifice, was giving himself back to God in some way. In every animal offering the worshiper placed his hand on the victim’s head, thereby identifying himself with the animal, saying in effect, “This animal represents me.” The animal sacrifices involved the animal’s death, and so the sacrifices had atoning symbolism: the animal dying in the sinful worshiper’s place represented redemption from the death he deserved. There is then a common core of meaning and significance shared by all the sacrifices. But each sacrifice also had its own distinctive ritual features and religious emphases. This is indicated by the different names of the sacrifices, which sometimes highlight the ritual distinctiveness (“burnt offering,”) and sometimes the theologically distinctive feature (“peace offering, guilt offering”).
Although the Lord, in response to Moses’ intercession (Ex. 32), had rescinded His verdict to judge the people for their idolatrous worship of the golden calf, the removal of their sin remained an unresolved problem. These sacrifices provided an atonement for them and for Aaron, their priest, who led them into that sin (ch. 9). In contrast to Aaron, Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the new Israel, is without sin and never tempts His people to sin (Heb. 9:6–15).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to remove banner ads and unlock new features!
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!